A prominent blogger has converted from atheism to Catholicism, raising a few issues about human exceptionalism that we have discussed here. From the CNN Belief story:
Leah Libresco, who’d been a prominent atheist blogger for the religion website Patheos, announced on her blog this week that after years of debating many “smart Christians,” she has decided to become one herself, and that she has begun the process of converting to Catholicism. Libresco, who had long blogged under the banner “Unequally Yoked: A geeky atheist picks fights with her Catholic boyfriend,” said that at the heart of her decision were questions of morality and how one finds a moral compass.
“I had one thing that I was most certain of, which is that morality is something we have a duty to,” Libresco told CNN in an interview this week, a small cross dangling from her neck. “And it is external from us. And when push came to shove, that is the belief I wouldn’t let go of. And that is something I can’t prove.”
“Morality is something we have a duty to.” Wow. That the core of what makes us so different from all other known life.
“It is external to us,” she said, shows—at least as far as she can discern—that naked materialism simply lacks total truth. That too is distinctly human. Ditto, seeking meaning, questioning, embracing or rejecting faith, living according to what is deemed right and good, sacrificing self to a cause, acting evilly. Etc. Etc. Etc.
This story also demonstrates, I think, the utter paucity of the “we are just meat machines” meme. If her genes made her atheist in the first place, did they suddenly express differently and make her Catholic? Perhaps it was her Catholic boyfriend. Love can do that, for sure. But all of the above still holds. Only humans choose our moral views and only we can adhere to or violate them.
Human beings are exceptional. Those traits that separate us from fauna are moral in nature, rather than purely biological such as being bipedal or mammalian. Only we have duties, which is one of the reasons why only we should have rights.